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October 2019

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4 | Overdrive | October 2019 V O I C E S As a soothsayer once told four-truck eet owner Les Willis, "If you want to make a million dollars in a truck, start with $2 million." His point: Pro t can be hard-won, if it comes at all, in trucking. ough with diligence around business analysis and cash ow, cost control, freight market wisdom and customer relationships, an independent own- er-operator or small- eet owner can enjoy long-term success. Willis, leased to FedEx Custom Critical, spoke during a roundtable at the Great American Trucking Show in August. It was part of Overdrive's Partners in Business program, co-produced by nancial services provider ATBS. Joining him was one- truck independent Henry Albert and Jimmy Nevarez, a four-truck eet owner specializing in local and regional runs around his Southern California home base. Albert also has small- eet experi- ence, and he recalled the day he went independent with one truck in the 1990s. Business plan intact, insur- ance on le, a customer lined up and plenty of money stashed away in lieu of the payment delays he expected, he'd been assured by federal repre- sentatives of speedy handling of his authority application. Yet the days went by, turning into more than a month. e wait "ate up all my [cash] reserves," he said, a er which he used some of the $60K available on his credit cards. Com- pounding issues, his rst load out- bound was cancelled by the broker. "Brand-new truck, brand-new at- bed," a brokered load that cancelled but "a return load set from a custom- er that was direct," Albert said. A er the cancellation, "I sat around all day" looking for another load to the location of his direct-ship customer before he resolved: "I'm not cancel- ling myself on my rst load" with the customer. As he rolled for hundreds of miles, burning fuel bought with a Discover Card, "I kept looking at my empty atbed and thinking, 'What the heck have I done?' " He arrived early. A er relaying to his contact the problem of his can- celled load, the contact told him he could have called to explain. "I said, 'One day that will happen,' " but he wasn't about to cancel his rst direct load. Nevarez' cash- ow strategy today is tied to the nature of the brokered freight carried in his local/regional operation. When he started adding trucks, he found himself on occasion "creating two invoices a day, per truck," he said. A er driving all day, "the last thing I want to do is hunt down payments and nonpayments." Nevarez turned to TBS Factoring Service. " ey provide me a service level that's not just factoring," he said. "It's like a complete back o ce for me." He has a nonrecourse arrange- ment for immediate payment upon transmission of invoices, bills of lading and rate contracts. Factoring enables him to avoid "having to hire a full-time employee for that speci c job. … It'll reach that point, eventual- ly, when I get out of the truck. I'll be that full-time employee." Willis' principal customer is the eet his four reefer expedited units are leased to, so customer invoicing and some other back-o ce needs aren't much of a consideration. Yet he's diligent in cash- ow-related areas, such as maintenance and repair reserves, to keep himself ahead of the cost-bene t curve as his equipment V O I C E S Todd Dills Strategies to keep your cash flowing PRODUCED BY OVERDRIVE AND ATBS A BUSINESS MANUAL FOR OWNER-OPERATORS PIB20_FC_TBS.indd 1 8/1/19 1:58 PM To download the new edition of Overdrive's Partners in Business manual, co-produced with ATBS, visit OverdriveOnline. com/pib. TBS Factoring Service sponsors the program. … and your business out of the breakdown lane

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